Andrew Niess

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (AM)

Graduate Group


First Advisor

Jairo Moreno

Second Advisor

Jim Sykes


This thesis figures the normative relationship between ethics and method in North American humanities institutions as a problem of design. As one possible counter-design, it offers a breath-controlled instrument that connects the user’s breath to real-time air quality conditions. In the first part of this thesis, I identify designs that sustain anthropocentric normativity in the humanities and advocate a research practice that intentionally aligns problem, form, and relational outcomes. In the second part, I present a technical overview of the instrument, its computational methods, and its material and electronic components. For reference and repurposing, I also include supplementary files: a video demonstration of the instrument and a Max/MSP patch with supporting JavaScript files.

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Additional Files (89 kB)
three-breathing-places_Niess_1080p_2021.mp4 (189758 kB)

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